LET’S BE COPS || August 15th, 2014

TheExpendables3-poster By the time you watch the very first “Expendables” film, you know exactly what you are setting yourself up for by wanting to see the sequels. Highlighting the aging action stars like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, “The Expendables 3” looks to offer a cast of younger stars mixed with a newer cast of past-their-prime actors in Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson. Going the PG-13 route this time around, the signature blow-em-to-bits mentality of the previous films will be lost, but the action should still be somewhat entertaining.
THEATER
TheGiver-poster Cashing in on the popularity of previous young adult novel adaptations, “The Giver” is based on a book published in 1993, which beats “The Hunger Games” by 15 years. Set in a similar dystopian future, reading or seeing this film after books or films like “Divergent” really open one’s eyes to the ability to pick and choose elements of a story and tell them as your own. Pairing the gorgeous young actress Odeya Rush and up-and-comer Brendon Thwaites (“Oculus”, “The Signal”) with iconic actors like Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep raises this film above its average storytelling but still feels as though it came out five years too late.
LetsBeCops-poster Believe it or not, Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. are still considered no names in Hollywood. With successful runs on “New Girl” and “Happy Endings”, both of these men have proved that their off-beat, out-of-the-box humor is a huge selling point. With a hilarious trailer for “Let’s Be Cops” and a studios confidence in these not-yet-household names, if this film does well, Johnson and Wayans could prove to be just that.
THEATER

AbuseOfWeakness-poster The story of a film-maker who suffers a stroke, “Abuse Of Weakness” sees this fragile woman becoming attracted to a con man that she wants in her next film. Starring Isabelle Huppert, who I have seen in “Amour”, “Dead Man Down”, and most recently “White Material”, she does have an amazing record for being a memorable actress, but in this latest film, there is something emotionally missing that cannot be resurrected even by a talented actress such as herself. Instead, it comes off more like a novella and less like a French drama.
PASS
TheAdmiralRollingCurrents-poster **
**
AgencyOfVengeance-DarkRising-poster As absolutely horrible as “Agency Of Vengeance: Dark Rising” looks, there is a small part of me that actually wants to see it. And as far as miniscule budget science fiction films go, this could look a lot worse. With some very attractive women in bras and panties and some actually humorous jokes in the trailer, there is something that slightly sets this apart from the rest of the pack and this being a sequel, meaning someone actually invested enough money to make another B-movie film, there has to be something worthwhile to warrant it.
25% MAYBE
Coldwater-poster Had “Coldwater” carried a message, say about homophobia and the Catholic religion, building off of apparently real camps where young men are forced to become straight, it could have held some interest for me. But being an internment camp for delinquent children is far less impacting and with an over-the-top nature where these men could be killed for not obeying the tough ex-war colonel, this drama is so flaccid it is hard to even get through the trailer. How some of these stories relate to their authors or what they want the audience to get out of them is often a mystery to me and becomes more engaging than the below par film itself.
PASS
Dinosaur13-poster Right off the bat, the trailer of “Dinosaur 13” had me invested. A group of paleontologists from the Black Hills with archival footage finding one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex fossils ever discovered. But as the trailer rolls on and becomes about something political, involving the ownership of the fossil, it really begins to feel like the audience is being involved in a no stakes squabble which really boils down to “finders keepers”. The arguments feel somewhat childish and thinking that you own something that is as earthly as a dinosaur fossil is just baffling to me.
PASS
Found-poster As much as I adore horror films of all production qualities, “Found” does very little to get me to want to see it. Blending coming of age and horror is definitely not a new concept but as a young boy getting picked on at school finds out that his brother is a serial killer when he finds a severed head in his closet, this story definitely feels original. Touting numerous awards at film festivals, had the film looked a little more intense and of higher quality or fit in any sort of recognizable actor I would have probably been on-board but without those elements, I simply will stay away.
PASS
Frank-poster Not every day does a film come out about a wannabe musician that wears a giant fake head. “Frank” is exactly that movie. In this awkward comedy starring Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Scoot McNairy in the performances that you can see, and the mega-talented Michael Fassbender as the title character behind the mask, this is a must-see on my list. Whether it proves to be as entertaining as I hope it will be is yet to be seen, but with the conflict arising around the mask, I really cannot wait to see this.
THEATER
JakeSquared-poster “Jake Squared” puts the talented Elias Koteas in the drivers seat for once, in a comedy that does recall the storytelling of Woody Allen. When Jake faces three separate versions of himself all at different ages, he must come together with them to help figure out where he belongs in life and with whom. Also starring Mike Vogel, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Virginia Madsen, and Jane Seymour, there is nothing absolutely stunning about this film, but with a “Multiplicity” type plot and Koteas getting the screen time that he deserves, I could see myself giving this a chance.
25% MAYBE
Jealousy-poster Philippe Garrel last film, “Burning Hot Summer”, has been on my must-watch list for a couple years now, so until I am able to sit down and watch that film, I will probably not get to his latest film, “Jealousy” starring his son, Louis Garrel. Looking at the idea of fidelity and temptation, the characters in the film all deal with different levels of jealousy, whether its a boyfriend sleeping with someone other than his girlfriend, or an estranged daughter who is unhappy seeing her father with a woman other than her mother. Presented with subtitles and black-and-white, it does not get much more arthouse than this.
PASS
LevelFive-poster Looking like a film that came out in the 1960’s, “Level Five” is a trippy independent film that looks like its shot on a VHS, with that same fuzzy quality and full frame aspect ratio. Centering around a woman developing some sort of real life video game about the Battle of Okinawa, the trailer is so other worldly that it was hard to even follow. Had this been a re-release of an older film, I could have offered some sort of reprieve, but seeing as it is a new release from this year, there really is no logical reason this had to be so low quality.
PASS
LifeAfterBeth-poster While watching the trailer for “Life After Beth”, a few references struck me as possible motivators for creating this film. One of them is the film “Zombieland”, in particular the scene where Jesse Eisenberg’s character has a crush on his neighbor (played by Amber Heard) who eventually turns into a zombie and despite his feelings for her, he must fight her off. I am also reminded of the 1993 made-for-television movie “My Boyfriend’s Back” which has a similar premise to “Life After Beth”. Regardless, with Dane DeHaan on the rise and Aubrey Plaza being one of the most talented dark comedic actresses currently, this is a must-see.
THEATER
Ragnarok-poster Coming off sort of like an retelling of the Loch Ness monster, “Ragnarok” speaks of an ancient creature that brought the end of days in Norse culture. As an archeologist, and what looks to be his family for some unspeakable reason, sets out to find out more about the creature between Norway and Russia, the discovery of the creature is imminent. A low budget science fiction film presented as somewhat big budgeted, the film has amazing views of landscapes, but offers very little in the visual effects department, which is a huge problem given the title character is an effects heavy monster that looks extremely computer generated.
PASS
SepticMan-poster Besides anyone that pays to see this movie, the only people I feel worse for are the cast and crew that had to run around in sewers or sewer looking sets for the entire time of this production. “Septic Man” is the story of sewage worker who gets stuck in the sewer system without food or water and begins some strange transformation much akin to Jeff Goldblum’s transformation in “The Fly”. Grotesque and poorly produced, the film leaves the odor of its sets upon finishing the trailer to which I would rather jump into an actual sewer than see this film.
PASS
TheTripToItaly-poster The first time real life friends Steve Coogan and Bob Brydon came together to eat at fancy restaurants and talk about life, “The Trip” was born. Relying completely on their quirky senses of humor and ability to riff off one another, the story and food became somewhat secondary to their personalities. Now, three years later, the duo heads to Italy to recreate that unique bond the two share. With director Michael Winterbottom returning to direct this sequel and with Coogan’s star only continuing to rise, the first film was just good enough for me to warrant a viewing of this.
25% MAYBE
WeAreMariPepa-poster “Somos Mari Pepa” makes me question how many times there has been a film made about the formation of a band, particularly to compete in a battle of the bands. This foreign language film presents an almost home video style quality that makes it feel more like a documentary than a piece of fiction. Whether it becomes a coming of age telling or simply a piece to tell a true to life story, I cannot be sure from the trailer alone, but with a band name like Mari Pepa, which “mari” is short for marijuana and “pepa” is in reference to female genitalia, there is no telling where this film comes from.
PASS
AWillForTheWoods-poster The music in the trailer for “A Will For The Woods” is actually quite powerful and as it does not seem mainstream, I am even more impressed. Unfortunately, the documentary is based on such a short idea that a feature length film feels forced and too much. Delving into the imminent death of psychiatrist Clark Wang, the narrative of this real to life piece is that he wants to be buried in a forest known for its reformation into the earth, a very hippie point of view. I have absolutely nothing against this and am actually really happy this sort of thing exists for those that want it, but the premise is hardly strong enough to carry a two minute trailer let alone an entire feature.
PASS
TheWord-poster What looks like a valid attempt at a film students very first feature, the look and feel is all there but the acting is stiff and the dialogue and writing is even worse. “The Word” follows a father whose son is killed in a mall which turns out to be apart of some ritual sacrifice, but before you get too excited, the revenge flick, the sadistic nature of the cult that kills him, none of these elements ever actually pay off, at least in the trailer. So congrats to the young film-maker who finally made his or her first feature but unfortunately I will not take part.
PASS

THEATER

  • The Expendables 3
  • Frank
  • The Giver
  • Let’s Be Cops
  • Life After Beth

RENTAL

MOST LIKELY CATCH ON NETFLIX (75%)

PROBABLY CATCH ON NETFLIX (50%)

MIGHT CATCH ON NETFLIX (25%)

  • Agency Of Vengeance: Dark Rising
  • Jack Squared
  • The Trip To Italy

PASS

  • Abuse Of Weakness
  • Coldwater
  • Dinosaur 13
  • Found
  • Jealousy
  • Level Five
  • Ragnarok
  • Septic Man
  • Somos Mari Pepa
  • A Will For The Woods
  • The Word

HELL NO

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